There is an ongoing notion about the negative impact of technology on humankind. Many predict that technologies like Artificial Intelligence may replace human jobs. Well, it is a hypothetical situation. We are still determining what the future holds. But it emerges as a savior to deal with many challenges we face today. So, we should not shy away from embracing technological innovations if they add value to our lives.
We all know climatic changes have been pressing more issues than ever. As a result, there is significant Ozone depletion, poor air quality, forest fires, etc. All this affects the entire food chain. That is where sustainability practices come into play.
Given this, businesses have started taking measures to make things more sustainable. One such way is to use green computing. Remember, going green is the only solution to mitigate the harmful effect of traditional practices on the environment.
What is green computing?
Green computing, or green IT, refers to the efficient and sustainable use of technology resources to minimize environmental impact. The primary goal is to make information technology greener while improving efficiency and reducing costs. Before we tell you how to incorporate green computing into your business, it is good to understand how data centers influence climate change.
Data centers and energy consumption: The overview
Data centers consume a staggering amount of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, they take up 10 to 50 times more energy than a typical office building of the same size. And it contributes to about 2% of the country’s net electricity consumption.
In another report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) in September 2022 evaluated that data centers accounted for up to 1.3% of global electricity usage in 2021. In addition, it stated that data centers and data transmission networks caused 0.9% of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2020.
It makes sense why businesses should adopt green computing practices for their data centers. They help reduce carbon footprint and energy consumption and promote sustainability. Let us look at ways to integrate this technological innovation into your business and save the planet.
Tips to implement green computing in your data center
Green computing includes a range of strategies. The following are a few of them that you can use to enhance your data center’s energy efficiency and sustainability. As a result, it will benefit both the environment and your business.
- Monitor your baseline energy consumption
One of the initial ways to implement green IT and enhance energy efficiency in your data center is to track the baseline of your energy usage. That means you need to check on your overall electricity consumption. It also involves delving into the details to forecast future use.
For example, break down your usage into categories, like HVAC, server, infrastructure, network, and storage consumption. Once you establish your baseline consumption levels, you may look for options to improve energy efficiency through more effective power management. And do not forget to make changes to your data center setup.
- Resize your servers
Keeping all servers in your data center running around the clock may result in underutilization. After all, some servers may only be required to process requests at specific times of the day or run applications infrequently. On the other hand, many have become redundant. Consequently, your business will consume more server energy than necessary.
How can you avoid this?
System administrators can leverage server monitoring tools like Zabbix, Netreo, and Paessler PRTG Network Monitor to monitor server utilization. Also, they help identify functions consolidated onto fewer machines and determine which servers to virtualize to reduce their physical footprint. With these steps, you can optimize your server usage and decommission servers you no longer need.
- Keep the temperature a little warmer
Usually, HVAC systems in data centers are likely to utilize more air conditioning than essential. However, modern data center equipment can operate safely at higher temperatures. It allows for a slight increase in the overall temperature, which reduces the HVAC load.
If you want to keep your IT equipment safe, maintain the temperature and humidity at a minimum. Before adjusting the thermostat, you should calculate the cooling requirements of your data center accurately.
- Upgrade your outdated equipment
Do you know older or outdated data center equipment consumes more power, generates more heat, and has lower physical tolerances? If you are still using them, it’s time to upgrade to modern counterparts.
Newer servers, racks, switches, and HVAC technological innovations comprise energy-efficient components and processors. Therefore, it is advisable to install the latest assets for your data center. You can further reduce the number of physical technologies by replacing physical servers with virtual ones.
- Consider green energy alternatives
Another excellent way to decrease carbon emissions from data centers is to look for eco-friendly energy solutions. These include wind power, geothermal cooling, and hydroelectric power. Let us learn in detail how they work.
- Wind Power: Data centers can harness wind energy by installing wind turbines. It is a clean and renewable energy source that can help reduce carbon emissions. And some data centers are already powered entirely by wind energy.
- Geothermal Cooling: In this, you will use the earth’s natural heat to cool the data center. It works by circulating water through a network of pipes buried underground. Geothermal cooling is an energy-efficient alternative to traditional cooling methods.
- Hydroelectric Power: What is hydroelectric power? It involves using the energy from flowing water to generate electricity. Data centers can tap into hydroelectric power by locating near hydroelectric dams or installing hydroelectric turbines.
- Solar power: Solar power is another eco-friendly energy alternative that data centers can explore. However, you need to install solar panels on the data center roof. As a result, they can generate electricity from the sun.
The bottom line
Modern-day data centers consume more energy, which impacts the environment. Therefore, businesses should ditch traditional methods and adopt technological innovations like green computing. But before ensuring an eco-friendly data center, it is crucial to conduct a thorough analysis to understand where you can make changes.
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- How can you measure the effectiveness of your green computing initiatives?
As a business owner, you can measure the effectiveness of your green computing initiatives by tracking energy consumption, carbon emissions, and cost savings. You can also conduct regular assessments and audits to identify areas for improvement. And evaluate how your initiatives impact the environment and business operations.
- Are there any challenges in incorporating green computing practices?
Yes, you may face some challenges while integrating green computing practices into your business. There are lack of awareness or education, resistance to change, lack of resources or budget, and difficulty in measuring their effectiveness.